YOUNG CULTURAL STEWARDS
Chicago Park District's Young Cultural Stewards (YCS) critically and creatively engage art, technology, and media to become advocates and caretakers of their parks, neighborhoods, and communities. YCS engages over 2,500 youth across 100 parks and 45 neighborhoods through community-based programming including TRACE (Teens Re-Imagine Art, Community, and Environment), Inferno Mobile Recording Studio, YCS Fellowship, and ArtSeed Mobile Creative Play. YCS builds on best practices within the field of informal art education and creative youth development to cultivate. Young Cultural Stewards cultivate:
Reframe public parks as sites for cultural organizing and creative capacity building
Preserve and contributing to indigenous, local, and global cultural practices
Build 21st century skills of creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking
Cultivate the development of positive self-identity, community, and solidarity
Nurture the capacity to imagine change and the willingness to work for it
Practice culture making as a tool for social change
Foster trust, vulnerability, and the development of interdependent relationships
Utilize restorative and transformative justice to address harm and create accountability
Provide job training, career readiness, and building the capacity of youth as leaders and lifelong change makers
Young Cultural Stewards is made possible through the support of the Chicago Park District, Crossroads Fund, The Field Foundation, and the Kraft Foundation.
Photos courtesy of Irina Zadov.